Trump's Chopper Couldn't Land On Israeli Site, So He's Not Going There

Masada helicopter

Masada helicopter

Trump canceled the visit and speech and instead will deliver remarks at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

President Donald Trump has canceled plans to deliver a speech at an ancient Israeli fortress after being told he can not land his helicopter on it, Israeli media reported.

The president refused to land his helicopter at the base of the historic site and take a cable vehicle up as former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush had done, Newsweek reported, citing Israel's Channel 2. It comes after an Israeli Air Force (IAF) regulation that prevents helicopters landing at the summit of the Masada site, according to Israel's Channel 2 broadcaster.

The president will speak at the Hebrew Museum in Jerusalem rather than at Masada, the majestic fortress in the Judean Desert that was the setting for a 1st century conflict in which 967 Jewish rebels poisoned themselves rather than surrender to Roman attackers.

The decision by the authorities came after an incident took place in 1997 when a military helicopter landed in the middle of Masada and caused damaged to the ruins. The Israeli Foreign Ministry also declined to comment on Trump's schedule.

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The fortress, built by King Herod and seen as the last stand of Jewish patriots in the face of the Roman army in 73 A.D., is recognized as a World Heritage site by the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

Israel considers the site to be the nearest to the holiest landmark in Judaism-the Temple Mount-where Israelis can pray, to be part of Jerusalem and, therefore, Israel. "They will go up to the mountain by cable auto".

News of the president's cancellation stirred reactions among observers of the American-Israeli relationship and officials inside the country.

During the nine-day, five-city foreign trip, he will travel to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Belgium, Italy and the Vatican. USA does not consider the West Bank a part of Israeli land.

This announcement left Netanyahu's angry and White House officials had to reiterate that this was not Trump's position.

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